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If The ADL Disappeared Tomorrow, Would Anyone Even Notice?


Carl Pearlston is a Californian who has been involved with the Anti-Defamation League for 25 years, has served on its Regional Board and Executive Committee and was particularly active in the organization’s Speaker’s Bureau. Now he’s out, and he tells us why in a revealing piece carried exclusively by JewishWorldReview.com.”I had always known that my conservative Republican political views were barely tolerated by my overwhelmingly liberal colleagues,” he writes. Although the ADL ostensibly is non-partisan, ‘our meetings frequently felt uncomfortably like those of a Democratic Party club in which it was assumed that all shared a common liberal or ‘progressive’ political worldview and none could, or wanted to, hear a differing viewpoint.

“Our positions were usually those of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party on issues like abortion, school choice, teacher pay, bilingual education, affirmative action, the homosexual agenda, gun control.”

Referring to the ADL’s notorious 1994 ‘study’ on the political influence of Christian conservatives, Pearlston say he ‘was distressed, as were many politically conservative Jews who do not share the ADL view that politically-active conservative Christians are our enemy. As (Jewish) syndicated columnist and JewishWorldReview contributor Mona Charen wrote, ‘The ADL has committed defamation. There is no other conclusion to be reached after reading its new report, The Religious Right: the Assault on Tolerance and Pluralism in America.?’

Complaints about the relentless politicization of ADL activities were met with a shrug, Pearlston charges: ‘When I once confessed to our national director, Abe Foxman, my feelings of just spinning my wheels, he candidly told me that I would have to realize that over 95 percent of those involved in the ADL were liberal and would be unsympathetic to my conservative views.’Despite its self-image as a champion of constitutional freedoms, the ADL, writes Pearlston, is in fact highly selective in determining whose freedoms deserve protection: ‘All too frequently, however, free speech and the expression of religious belief have been the targets of [ADL ] condemnations, such as religious references by political candidates, Christian prayers at the presidential inauguration, religious symbolism in comics, expressions of religious belief by sports figures, and even expressions of the politically incorrect.’

The ADL, Pearlston reminds us, was ‘an early and naive advocate of the now-defunct Oslo peace process, to the ultimate detriment of actual peace….All of our ‘insider’ briefings on the Mideast downplayed the risk to Israel posed by an armed Palestinian Authority or Palestinian state, and held out rosy and unrealistic prognostications of peace.’

So hopelessly compromised was the ADL by its infatuation with the peace process that the organization, writes Pearlston, actually ‘complimented the Palestinian Authority on its new school textbooks without even having read them, completely overlooking the virulent anti-Semitism contained therein.

‘When I questioned [Abe Foxman] about this, I became the target of attack and public humiliation for bringing up the matter. Nor did I endear myself by dwelling on our national director’s central role on behalf of the ADL in devising and wangling a pardon for criminal fugitive tax-evader Marc Rich.’

Reflecting on the rebuke he received from the ADL when he expressed positions not in accord with ADL policy – even though he did so, he says, ‘in various letters and articles in which I was not identified as an ADL Board member’ – Pearlston writes that he ‘had not realized that, as the price for Board membership, I had given up my freedom of speech on issues on which the ADL had taken a position.’

All in all, Pearlston finds it rather ‘odd that an organization which boastfully espouses and teaches ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity’ will not tolerate a bit of dissent and diverse viewpoint in its own lay leadership.’

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at jmaoz@jewishpress.com.

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